The Boy Scouts of America will participate in the 16th annual Harford County Farm Fair from Thursday through July 27, demonstrating emergency services training that will lead to an emergency preparedness merit badge.
Emergency service providers and Scouts, ages 11 to 18, will show how to respond to emergencies, including radiation, chemical, biological and other hazards, according to Ernie Crist, Harford County emergency operations manager.
David Eng, a representative of the Boy Scouts of America, said the Scouts are learning how to prevent injuries and possible loss of life in situations such as fires, explosions, cars stalling in a blizzard, gas leaks and avalanches. The Scouts are demonstrating how to safely remove someone who has touched a live wire, evacuate a room filled with carbon monoxide or other fumes, assist a person whose clothing is on fire and use non-swimming rescues in drowning situations, Eng said.
Materials needed for home survival kits also will be highlighted, he said.
Six Bel Air police officers will explain training and safety precautions, and what to do for crowd and traffic control. Emergency management and hazardous materials personnel will show what to do during an earthquake, flood, tornado, hurricane or a nuclear emergency - including collection and distribution services, group feeding, shelter and sanitation.
The training is sponsored by Harford County Local Planning Committee and the Harford County Emergency Operations Center.
The Scouts decided to participate in the fair on short notice in late April. "Everyone was very willing and helpful. The Police Department and the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Department have been extremely supportive with the whole idea," Crist said.
For Scouts to earn their Eagle Preparedness Merit Badge, they must, among other things, earn a first aid merit badge, create a personal "emergency pack," write a plan for mobilizing a Scout troop in emergencies and show proper use of ropes and lines for rescue work, Eng said.
Also, it is possible for adults and Scouts to receive the Emergency Preparedness Pin at the fair, said Roy L. Williams, a chief Scout and member of the Department of Homeland Security. This award program was initiated by Williams to prepare families in case of disaster, Eng said.
The training events will be held at station 171 near the gate, Crist said. The various training activities will take place from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., 9 a.m. to noon and noon to 1 p.m. Friday.
People interested in participating are asked to contact Eng at 443-243-4840 or to contact the Scouts at www.ocadc.org/hplan.htm.
"This event provides an opportunity for education and prevention outreach related to emergency preparedness to community members attending the fair," Crist said.